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Old 08-25-2004, 02:58 PM   #29
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Rigging questions.

I do not, at this time, have the time to go into great detail to document what I previously posted.

Unfortunately, some people don't believe in statistics, as you can gaurantee yourself will happen here.

However, the levelness of the tow vehicle has "NOTHING" in itself to do with proper rigging.

The follow statement has been made thousands of time, and "no one" has yet to prove it wrong. Anyone can dispute anything, but research, especially the kind that can easily be duplicated, leaves the disputer in wonderment.

The rule is simple. RThe tow vehicle and trailer must be level within themselves, and, at the same time the torsion bars "must" bend a minimum of 1 inch (Reese).

If they do not adequately bend, then obviously, they do not transfer any weight.

87MH. If the rating of the bars don't matter, then lets use railroad track.
I hate to disagree with you, but the research bears you out in the wrong.

Additionally, the front of Airstream and Argosy trailers love a "soft" ride. When the front end of the trailer is punished by havivg a super stiff hitch and/or rear end suspension, then in short order, the rivets in the front plate start to shear off. Ask anyone who has experienced the loss of those rivets, what kind of tow vehicle you have as well as the rating of the hitcxh, and the answer will be, "big hitch, big truck,"

Speaks for itself.

This is not theory guys, this was well documented research.

For those that still differ, I suggest that you first read the December issue of Airstream Life.

I do not (at this time) have the time to go into this with infinite detail, or to answer the questions that someone may feel reasonable. And I especially will noit get into a discussion with an Attorney about this matter, as they always seem to have a way to bend or alter proven facts.

If your a doubter, I have but one suggestion.

Make sure you have plenty of collision and liability insurance, before you make your next trip.

Andy
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Old 08-25-2004, 04:05 PM   #30
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Definitions needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV
...I do not (at this time) have the time to go into this with infinite detail, or to answer the questions that someone may feel reasonable...
Ya know, what has been missing from this thread (at least to me) is definition of the various terms being used. I understand what a weight distributing hitch is supposed to do, and I have my own “dictionary” of what the parts are called.

Allow me to share it with you, and please correct what I have wrong:

Hitch: More completely called a “Receiver Hitch”. They are divided into Classes according to their weight carrying capability. I believe Types I - V are associated with light trucks.
To me, the hitch should be sized to the maximum tow rating of the vehicle no matter what one is towing. Is this one of the bones of contention?

Drawbar. The bar with ball inserted into the hitch & secured with a pin. The drawbar is usually sold separate of the hitch, and is usually matched to the weight distribution hardware. Many different drawbars will fit a given receiver hitch. Additionally, many different WD bars will fit the same drawbar.

Weight Distributing (WD) bars. This thread occaisionally calls them “spring bars” which they are, but it is a new term to me. These bars span between the drawbar & trailer, and serve to redistribute the tongue weight.

I know that WD bars are sold with different characteristics. I’m thinking this is the heart of Inland’s “too much hitch” presentation.

So what do I have wrong?

Tom
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Old 08-25-2004, 04:48 PM   #31
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Well I see Dennis post as more what a Lawyer will pull in court but I see Andy’s point of being over hitched.

What was neglected to be pointed out was the following:

WEIGHT TRANSFER UNDER BRAKING: Here me out and I think you will understand why it's critical to get the deflection that Andy speaks of for the Dual Cam to be effective.

Under hard braking the tow vehicle will nose dive....we know this do we not? It's a given. Its a fact that a four wheel vehcile wil have weight transfer to the front that will cause the attitude of the vehicle to change dramaticly from it's normal static ride hight.

Think about what is happening at the hitch and bars when the vehicle nose dives.

The hitch is raising and that is lowering the tension on the bars. Many of use will actually run the jack up to make it easier to hook the chains up thusly proving when the tail of the tow vehile raises there is a loss of tension. The more distance from the rear axle of the tow vehcile to the ball the more this movement will increase. The longer the wheel base the less this will happen. The vehcile in question was of a shorter wheel base and it was also a high center of gravity vahile so this transfer could be quite dramatic.

Since the dual cam depends on that tension to function the load transfer significantly reduced the effectiveness of the Dual cam to fight sway. Once the trailer overcame the Cams it would be able to push the rear of the tow vehicle side ways causing a loss of control.
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Old 08-25-2004, 04:56 PM   #32
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I have to agree, I do think there is some intermixing of terms, here. One thing I can't believe is a true statement though, is this:

"If they do not adequately bend, then obviously, they do not transfer any weight."

a):, its not obvious. and b): I could use a piece of spaghetti in place of the wd bar, and it would bend, but no weight would be transferred. or I could use a piece of railroad track, and if I pulled up hard enough on it, it would flip the tow vehicle right over, without bending at all. the weight would be transferred. but the rail wouldn't bend, because the weight of the tow vehicle and trailer combined wouldn't exceed the tensile strength of the bar.

you might be able to convince me that the cams need to be oriented in the saddles a certain way, and that there needs to be a minimum amount of friction in order for the sway control to work properly. but a lever doesn't have to be bent in order to produce leverage. the force is there, whether we can see it or not.
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Old 08-25-2004, 05:10 PM   #33
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Ok, ok..uncle.

So I thought I had this all figured out and now this new info. So on my old Impala, when I towed the Bambi and the Airstream dealer set me up with 1000lb bars I was in overkill mode and no weight was being xfered? How could this be if the bars brought the rear of the car level to the trailer?

Now I have a 3/4 Suburban that I have yet to hitch up. I am thinking that I will not need 5 links as I did when towing the Safari with the Impala (I used 2 or 3 links towing the Bambi with the Impala). So if the truck drops a few inches, I hook up my 1000lb bars and it raises the rear of the Suburban making it and the Safari near or at level, again, how am I not xfering the weights if the vehicles are responding to the weight bars? My 1000lb bars rarely bend all that much.

Now the Safari has a published hitch weight of 750lbs. Which if I load the front end of the coach up, could easily reach say 800lbs. So am I still over hitched with 1000lb bars to the point of poping rivets or causing hardship to the coach?

Not trying to start an arguement or point fingers at who is right and who is wrong....I'm just lookin' for answers so that I don't screw up as I have seen first hand what happens to folks that play the odds. I don't want to be one of those folks.

For the record, brakes, dual cam and controller are all in 105% condition.
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Old 08-25-2004, 06:41 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 59toaster
Well I see Dennis post as more what a Lawyer will pull in court but I see Andy’s point of being over hitched...
Okay, since I am slow on the uptake, what is "overhitched"? Which part is too much for what is being towed? I have re-read this thread, and still have not figured out what everyone is calling "overhitched"


Tom
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Old 08-25-2004, 06:44 PM   #35
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Resuscitate a smashed Airstream or Not?

The Reese technician who taught me to setup my hitch (1998) basically instructed me according to what Andy posted earlier. As such, I have four sets of weight distributing bars for my Reese Strait-Line Hitch (the Strait-Line Hitch includes the Dual Cam Sway Control System) to match my two coaches to my two primary tow vehicles - - a VERY softly sprung Cadillac and a much more stiffly sprung K2500 Suburban.

My 6.0 Metre Minuet has 3,100 pounds gross trailer weight/550 pounds gross hitch weight, and the 26' Overlander has 6,100 pounds gross trailer weight/750 pounds gross hitch weight. When towing with my car, I use 600 pound bars with the Minuet and 800 pound bars with the Overlander; with the Suburban, I use 500 pound bars with the Minuet (these were from the old light weight system sold by Reese in the late 1970s) and 700 pound bars with the Overlander (these bars were evidently from a source other than Reese but fit the Reese hitch head). The hitch heads and draw bars are rated for 1,000 pounds hitch weight (with weight distribution) and up to 10,000 pounds gross trailer weight (with weight distribution).

When I first purchased my Overlander in 1995, the dealer who setup my hitch (not an Airstream dealer, but a general hitch specialist) installed the Reese hitch with 1,000 pound weight distribution bars (at the time I was towing with a '95 K1500 Z-71 Chevrolet Club Cab pickup with VERY stiff springs (the rear suspension deflected less than an inch with the load of the Overlander). I had many "white-knuckle" experiences with that combination. When I approached a Reese Technician at a different facility than the one who installed my hitch, the problem was immediately diagnosed as weight distribution bars that were much too heavy and is when the 700 pound bars were fitted for the Overlander - - I have towed with the lighter bars since 1998 with no reappearance of the "white-knuckle" experiences with the heavier 1,000 pound weight distribution bars.

It has been nearly ten years since I have towed with anything other than the Reese Strait-Line hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control, and after switching to weight distribution bars better matched to my tow vehicle trailer combination (1998) I have not had any "white-knuckle" experineces. I had always thought that the matching of the weight distribution bars to the gross hitch weight/stiffness of tow vehicle springing was more to insure proper functioning of the Dual Cam System, but now it appears that it applies in general as well.

Kevin
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Old 08-25-2004, 06:44 PM   #36
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Tom.

You are correct. It is the weight rating of the torsions bars, also known as bars, spring bars, weight distributing bars, load equalizing bars, or arms instead of bars, and who knows what else.

The other and very important item, is the amount of spring, or the spring rate, or the beef up equipemt installed on the rear of the tow vehicle.

We all know that you can keep any tow vehicle level, without any form of load eqaulizing hitch, and simply tow an Airstream with a ball. Laugh as you may, there are some that do it.

In order to do that, the rear suspension of the tow vehicle, must be beefed up. When that is done, as an example, we can keep the trailer and tow vehicle level, with respect to itself.

However, rarely, does anyone do an investigation, let alone research, as I have when I was with Caravanner Insurance, relative to load equalizing hitch uses.

When both vehicles are level, using a beef up method, they look great. Tow them past 35 to 40 mph, and you will learn a lesson, quickly. When that setup is made, and because of the increase in the fulcrum, check the 3 weights on a truck scale. What you will find, is that the front end of the tow vehicle weighs maybe half of what the rear axle weighs.

Simply put, the front end will handle the same as if you were on ice. Namely, traction, where did you go??????

Again guys, there are many facets to this that will "all" be listed in that article. In the meantime, please lets be patient.

I have been here for 38 years to help, not to hinder. It has always been my desire to improve our industry with knowledge and facts, that promote your safety. I know how to do it, but unfortunately, all too many don't. It is in that vein, that I strive to promote safety, through knowledge and research information passed on to our fellow RV"ers.

There will always be those that object, but I personally have yet to meet or communicate with anyone, that has an extensive background, specifically on this subject, or hands on involvement with the research program itself.

I truly believe, if we had more listeners to the real facts instead of objectors, that most of us would be far better off.

Unfortunately, all too often, we find misguided advice handed out, even though is was well meant.

The research project included various lengths of Airstreams, real as well as doctored tongue weights, different tow vehicles, along with modifying some of the tow vehicles by adding overload springs, air shocks, air bags, Monroe Load Levelers, as well as altering some of the "heavy duty" suspensions sytems, down to a normal system.

Oh, and while I am at it, towing a loaded 31 foot Airstream at 115 mph, with a tow vehicle that was equipped with a calibrated speedometer, an air speed indicator, and a camera to film it all, was part of the project. I was the driver!!

Having been a major part of that research, at least in my opinion, has given me considerable towing knowledge, that would be virtually impossible for any individual to duplicate.

It is near time to share this with one and all. But I promise, I will write what I know, but I "will not" get into any off the wall discussions with anyone, that wants to object, at least until "they" personally did the same research.

I will be happy to answer questions on a time available basis, but I will not get into a contest.

I have made a very good living, by rebuilding wrecked Airstreams, that were damaged by people who thought they knew, but learned, they really didn't, as well as modifying and remanufacturing them.

In other words, do as you wish, I can rebuild the damaged coach, and have for 38 years. But I would much rather reduce that work load, by trying to help people "before" they have a problem.

Proper rigging is like PM. If you ignore it, sooner or later it will bite you.

But, many owners don't believe in PM, so why in the world would you expect them to be safety concious?

Beats me!!

Again, please be patient, and look forward to those articles.

Andy
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Old 08-25-2004, 11:44 PM   #37
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Ok, so if I am hearing you all right, our Safari is about 750lbs hitch weight and towing with the Suburban or the Impala, I should be using less than 1000lb bars?
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Old 08-26-2004, 08:41 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcwilliams
Okay, since I am slow on the uptake, what is "overhitched"? Which part is too much for what is being towed? I have re-read this thread, and still have not figured out what everyone is calling "overhitched"


Tom
Now right off the bat. My observation is on a Dual cam set up and it's my understanding that is what was in use at the time of this accident. It is critical to it's performance that the cams stay in firm contact with the saddle.

Understanding that if you tilt the trunion back that this will cause the bars tips of the bars to be lowest as they come together in a straight line behind the tow rig. Under upward pull at the ends of the bars the bars will try to swing to the sides. This tendency helps with sway. To bars on opposite sides of the hitch under tension will always try to move away from each other. They act as a counter balance as a result if the trailer gets out of line with the tow vehicle. The one to the inside will loose tension. The on the outside will gain it as to gets closer to in line with the hitch.
Remember that as you read.


You have to think about what is happening at the end of the bars as the combination is articulating.

I 3/4 ton truck is going to need less tension on the bars to get the truck back level.

A half ton truck is going to need more because the rear will drop more with the tongue weight


We agree on this?

So if we have the same set of bars the bars on the 1/2 ton truck is going to be flexed more because we have to move more weight to the front axle to get the rear of the truck up right?

If the hitch rises there will be more travel where the bars are applying a downward force on the chains on the 1/2 ton because they have more tension to raise the rear of the truck back up. Agree?

Now think about the truck going over a bump that raises the back wheels of the tow vehicle. IF THE BARS HAVE TO BEND MORE THEN THEY WILL STAY IN TENSION LONGER AS THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE RAISES.....agree?

Think about it. If the bar has to deflect 1.5 inches on the half ton to get it level and the 3/4 ton because of its firm springs only needs 3/4 of an inch the distance the rear of the vehicle has to be raise before the bars loose tension will be less. Agree?


On a 3/4 ton the vehicle is able to handle a higher load so there is less tension needed to get the tow vehicle level. My 3/4 ton burb only drops 1 inch at the back bumper with 700lb of tongue. The front comes up 3/4. It does not take a whole lot of tension on a 1,000lb bar to get it back level.

So if my bars are of a higher tension then they are flexing less. The rear of the vehicle has to come up less distance before the bars loose tension because they have so little deflection in the fist place. It’s OVER HITCHED. It needs lighter bars to get the deflection back to keep the Cams of the Dual cam effective.

Back to my point about trunion angle. The more the vehicle is turned the less tension on that inside (of the turn) bar so it is not exerting as much tendency to try to re center the hitch. The Dual cam is also becomeing less efective on the inside bar because it has less tension.


There is a WHOLE lot going on at the hitch that is not obvious. You have to take it all in. Level vehicle is only part of it. Start changing the attitude of the tow vehicle in relation to the coach has to be considered as well. Andy's point of over hitch sort of sounds misleading but if you really start thinking about it makes perfect sense. It's OVER HITCHED. The equipemtn is larger then needed and it lessens the effectivness of the Dual cam.

Thanks Andy.

Got me thinking on that one. I did learn a lot about the tow characteristics between different vehicles. My rough riding 3/4 ton burb just may get some half ton springs and make life a littler better on the kidneys. At the very least a set of 550lb bars is in my future.
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Old 08-26-2004, 09:45 AM   #39
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by 59toaster
Now think about the truck going over a bump that raises the back wheels of the tow vehicle. IF THE BARS HAVE TO BEND MORE THEN THEY WILL STAY IN TENSION LONGER AS THE REAR OF THE VEHICLE RAISES.....agree?

Think about it. If the bar has to deflect 1.5 inches on the half ton to get it level and the 3/4 ton because of its firm springs only needs 3/4 of an inch the distance the rear of the vehicle has to be raise before the bars loose tension will be less. Agree?
On 59 toaster's first statement about braking, I got to thinking about the loss of tension and started to comment. But his second statement really echoed my thoughts.

It DOES seem counter-intuitive, that one would use LESS strong (lower rating) bars on a 3/4 ton truck with heavy springs. But we all do learn to use the power jack to 'make it easier' to put on the springs. Isn't this exactly what happens when we brake?

So..... Toaster! Here is a toast to you (and others) who helped to explain what isn't so obvious!!

I too have thought of 1/2 ton springs for my 3/4 Burb. And I'm using 750lb bars (I think). I do have a set of 1000lb that never get used.

I think that too few people really understand this.....

Steve in Sav'h
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:13 AM   #40
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No the toast goes to Andy. I just tried to explain it differently.

Andy is explaining it in relation to what is happening at the front of the vehcile becuase it's loosing the weight transfer from the hitch. When that angle changes the bars are not shifting the weight forward. I had a little trouble comprehending that till I started to think what was happening at the hitch.

It was easier for me to understand once I grasped the loss of tension on the bars if the attitude of the tow vehcile to the trailer changed. That's the point of Andy saying those bars need to defect a minimum of an inch. Everybody is so critical on the tounge weight but thats really secondary in the Dual cam. Yes your goal is to level but It's the need for those cams to have downward force from the Bars at all times to be effective. That deflection guarantees it.

Most of us have seen that picture Can Am has with the three leged Toranado where they took a wheel off the rear and let the hitch take up the slack. That's an example of transfering the weight to the front axle in the way Andy was explaining it.
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:13 AM   #41
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It's also helpful to think that the 'cams' have absolutely nothing to do with sway control. Sway control, as '59Toaster suggests, is due to the head angle geometry and the bars wanting keep the tongue centered behind of the hitch, which dampens sway.
The cams just allow the bars to 'cam-out', or disengage, during turns.
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:28 AM   #42
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Silvertwinkie.

You left out an important element. The information that is needed is always, the length of the trailer, the tongue weight of the trailer, the make tow vehicle (so as to have an idea about it's wheel base) and the kind of springs that the tow vehicle has on the rear.

In your case, if you have the overload leaf in place, then you should use a 550 pound hitch. If you take the leaf off (and you should) then you can use the 750.

59toaster.

I agree with you, except for one point.

If you have a Reese stright line hitch (dual cams), when you make a turn, the tension on each bar "increases" but unequally. If you turned to the left the left bar rises on the cam to a small degree, therefore raising the tension. The right bar rises on the cam considerably more, therefore increasing it's tension far more than the left bar.

That is why your tow vehicle will be tilted towards the turn. By doing that, the steering of your tow vehicle, will also help you to get back to a "straight line" (hence the name).

Usually, when making a turn, simply taking your hands off the steering wheel, will force the tow vehicle to get back into a straight line with respect to the trailer.

Now you have the secret as to why the Reese "straight line, dual cam hitch" is far superior the the ordinary hitch that uses two torsion bars and "a friction type sway control".

A friction type sway control has no idea if your in a straight line or not, therefore if you are not in a straight line, it actually impedes your ability to get back into that straight line. Think about it!! It provides some degee of friction (depending on how much you tighten the bolt) and it doesn't matter to what degree of turn your in, the friction as well as torsion of the bars, stays the same. Also, years ago, in small print, the manufactures of the "friction sway control" stated that if your in inclement towing conditions that you should loosen the tightness of the adjusting bolt!!!! Say what???
That's the time I would like to have more help, certainly not less.

Again, with the Reese, when you make a turn, the torsion of the two bars in fact "increases" but unequally.

How to measure that?? Easy.

Get a straight edge about 24 inches long. When in a straight line, place that straight edge "underneath" the torsion bar, as well as butt it up against the trunion. Measure the distance between the bottom of the bar and the straight edge (near the cam).

Now make about a 45 degree turn and stop!!

Make the same measurements again, but on both bars.

You will find that the distance between the straight edge and the bar has increase on each bar, but "enequally".

When you are in a straight line, and that measurement is a minimum of 1 inch, you are rigged "very well". However, if that dimension increased to 2 inches, you now are rigged about as perfect as you can get.

Have no fear, Reese bars are tested to have a 5 inch bend, without taking a set.

When someone tries these things that I have outlined, then the set up that is needed, almost jumps out at you, and tells you that you are OK or over hitched.

When over hitched, the difference in dimensions will simply "not be there," which tells you, "this ain"t right."

When hitch correctly, using the method that I described, you have done all that you can do.

Then make the subjective test, and see for yourself.

When the bars adequately bend, "you've got it made." When they don't, somebody has it made, but it's not you!!

Hitching, rigging, or whatever you want to call it, is basically a simple excercise in "physics."

We can simplify as well as answer these questions by using the tools that are easily available, such as truck scales, a straight edge, and a tape measure.

How many truck scales have you gone by, but never stopped at to get a "complete weight and balance?" We all have.

Surely now, for those that are interested in perfection, make these measurements, and then report your findings on this site. Also if you find that you need to make some changes, and completed them, please report back again, with the new dimensions and/or truck scale weights, as well as your personal opinion regarding the "new handling" characteristics.

I think that if a few of you take the time to do this, you will not only help yourself, but many others as well, "assuming" they read your posts.

Interesting?? You bet!!

Researched information, works great.

Personal thoughts, opinion, guesses, and the like, don't hold water, but they might get you into a ditch, that does hold water,

Andy
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