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Old 01-16-2005, 09:38 AM   #99
Rivet Master
 
2003 25' Safari
Eden Prairie , Minnesota
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Related hitch question... I have:

- A 2003 Safari 25ss with a GVWR of 6300 lbs. The tongue weight is listed at 750 lbs when empty.
- Tow with a 2002 Ford Explorer V8 with tow rating of 7000 lbs. This is "softly sprung" compared to the pickups, but firmer than a car.
- An Equal-i-zer hitch model 1722B, with max tongue weight of 1000 lbs and tow rating of 10,000 lbs. The rating of the bars is not listed separately. I do have significant spring bar deflection. (The next lower rated Equal-i-zer hitch is only rated for 600 lb tongue weight and 6000 lb tow rating, so I believe it would be inadequate for the task.)

Question 1: Is this okay, given Andy's descriptions earlier?
Question 2: Are my spring bars 1000 lb bars?
Question 3: What does the spring bar number really mean? It is the tongue weight that the bars are suitable to work with? Is is the maximum weight transfer that 2 bars can provide with a specified deflection? Or what?
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:32 AM   #100
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. , Illinois
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Ok, not to open old wounds here, but I had long forgotten about this thread until it was raised up by another thread.

I had read this thread with great interest having come from towing a 19' Bambi to a 25' Safari with a Chevy sedan, then moving to a 3/4 Suburban.

With the sedan and the Bambi, I had 1200lb bars. Worked great, had lots of spring in them, all seemed good.

Upgraded to the Safari, same 1200lb bars (BTW, I use the Reese Dual Cam HP system since going to the Safari). Still had bend in the bars, but the issue here towing the Safari with the sedan was that the Safari outweighed the sedan by 1000lbs, not to mention the 118" wheelbase didn't make it too fun towing the Safari, particularly in wind conditions.

So, then comes the 3/4 ton Burb. 1200lb bars are nothing but cosmetic. No flex at all, meaning little to no sway control. I know this because the Safari felt unstable and swayed when trucks passed and though the Suburban was heavier and had a longer wheelbase 130", I still felt some level of sway and attempts at being pushed and pulled around.

So, I read this thread and said, I'm gonna go on eBay and get a set of 800lb bars and a set of 600lb bars. Keep in mind that Airstream rated my Safari at a 750lb hitch weight.

So, I get the bar sets and start towing from using 1200lb bars to 800lb bars still using the dual cam hp sway control. Night and day difference, yet there still seems to be a hint of instability, but only a very, very slight trace....being picky, the next trip, I use the 600lb bars. Most of the ever so slight trace of instability is totally gone. I will say that with the 800 and the 600lb bars, there was plenty of bend to the bars and I decide that for now, the 600s will be my standard setup, and as a precaution, I will bring the 800s with me, in case the 600s break. This goes on for several long trips and the 600s are doing great. So I store my 800s, just in case one day I again upgrade to a larger coach and have several thousand miles now under my belt with the 600lb bars as the standard rig setup.

Flash forward to my last trip a few weeks ago. Loaded Safari, full Suburban, going down a state road about 58mph (55 mph zone). Deer jumps out of the brush....everything goes into slow motion. I hit the brakes hard, I can feel the Prodigy also apply the trailer brakes at an even level to that of the Suburban. I can hear the anti-locks working. I then, and don't ask me how, see the deer in front of me in a somewhat of a grid. As I slowly move the nose of the truck to the left (deer running to the right), the deer enters the next box in the grid. I don't try to instantly move the nose of the Suburban to the far left, understanding that some damage may be inevitable and in less than a millionth of a second accept that as the whole thing unfolds.

The deer, at the time of impact, I was going about 40mph, the deer was now nearly past the passenger front of the Suburban, except for the hind quarter of the deer. The bumber hits, I feel a slight tap, the deer spins around and comes to a stop in the side ditch. I then slow safely to a stop on the shoulder.

I get out and to my shock, I see no damage anywhere, the deer gets up and trotts off into the woods.

My point to this whole story, Andy may very well have helped save our rig and maybe us from injury or death. How?

Well, it's simple, Andy first raised the question of being overhitched which got me thinking. The 600lb bars provided a level of transfer (compared to the 1200lb bars I had at first), sway control, etc that allowed proper hitching and not overhitching. During this 5 second event (that seemed like over a minute) the Suburban and the Safari, in an emergancy situation, felt like one unit. Of course, keeping a cool head and not jerking the wheel also helped. Previous to this event, towing the Safari with the sedan, I tried to maunver around a possum that I encountered on the highway. Same type of thing, only it wasn't as firm of a feel. It could have easily gone the wrong way for several reasons.

Two weeks ago, I was even more thankful that I made the decsion to go with the proper tow vehicle, and even more grateful that I found Andy from Inland RV's post about being overhitched. Both are most likely two of the main reasons my Safari doens't look like the crashed rigs we've seen here.

Thanks Andy!

PS- For those who say the bars make no differnce, try it or better yet, try the right bars. With my rig, I decided to try towing with out the bars, knowing I'd loose my sway control. There was a lot of bounce without them, at any speed range. Every bump or dip in the road transferred lots of nose up and down movements.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:43 AM   #101
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It is interesting that a request to evaluate a reconstruction turned into a hitch discussion. As with a lot of these discussions, there is (in my view, anyway) an awful lot of confusion between catastrophic conditions and routine handling. There is also confusion between load leveling and sway reduction techniques.

One item I didn't see in the thread was the influence of trailer braking. I did see reference to truck braking raising the rear. Trailer braking is going to reduce that because it will add downward forces on the hitch. This topic alone could get into quite an interesting discussion because it so much depends upon the matching of trailer braking to truck braking.

Andy, as always, has some interesting points but I sure wish I had access to the research he cites and the data he references. His point about innapropriate driver response is, from what I can tell, critical in many trailer crashes.

The fact is that crashes don't just happen. Something causes them. When you are driving a vehicle with a trailer on behind you cannot drive like you have a sports car. The 'accident waiting to happen' isn't because of how a rig is set up but rather how the drive accomodates the deficiencies that always exist in his driving. Yes you want to reduce the deficiencies as much as possible but it is not realistic to pretend they don't exist.

I guess it is more fun to say the hitch caused it. -- Sure makes for an interesting discussion, anyway.

Meanwhile, I don't think rescuing a bent Airstream can be considered as a financial cost benefit thing. If you have something like what started this thread, doing something with it can only be an avocation and a hobby IMHO.
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:42 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I get out and to my shock, I see no damage anywhere, the deer gets up and trotts off into the woods.

My point to this whole story, Andy may very well have helped save our rig and maybe us from injury or death. How?

Well, it's simple, Andy first raised the question of being overhitched which got me thinking. The 600lb bars provided a level of transfer (compared to the 1200lb bars I had at first), sway control, etc that allowed proper hitching and not overhitching. During this 5 second event (that seemed like over a minute) the Suburban and the Safari, in an emergancy situation, felt like one unit. Of course, keeping a cool head and not jerking the wheel also helped. Previous to this event, towing the Safari with the sedan, I tried to maunver around a possum that I encountered on the highway. Same type of thing, only it wasn't as firm of a feel. It could have easily gone the wrong way for several reasons.

Two weeks ago, I was even more thankful that I made the decsion to go with the proper tow vehicle, and even more grateful that I found Andy from Inland RV's post about being overhitched. Both are most likely two of the main reasons my Safari doens't look like the crashed rigs we've seen here.

Thanks Andy!

PS- For those who say the bars make no differnce, try it or better yet, try the right bars. With my rig, I decided to try towing with out the bars, knowing I'd loose my sway control. There was a lot of bounce without them, at any speed range. Every bump or dip in the road transferred lots of nose up and down movements.

Your more than welcome.

Glad everythings ok.

Once again, how interesting the facts prove themselves as in your case.

Hitching opinions, are just that, and apply to one person.

Hitching facts become and are industry standards.

The problem is trying to cultivate the non believers.

Andy
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Old 10-28-2006, 04:32 PM   #103
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I am a believer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Your more than welcome.

Glad everythings ok.

Once again, how interesting the facts prove themselves as in your case.

Hitching opinions, are just that, and apply to one person.

Hitching facts become and are industry standards.

The problem is trying to cultivate the non believers.

Andy
I too have improved my Airstream's towing experience based on the information you provided in this thread. Thanks! While I think my towing setup is now covered, it would be great to read the follow-on article you alluded to when your first article was published in Airstream Life.

Do you have any plans to either publish the article in print or add it to your web site?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 10-28-2006, 08:06 PM   #104
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You may not have a choice.....your insurance company will probably determine that it is too expensive to repair. I also feel that you may only be seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Glad to hear that nobody but the Airstream was injured!
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:56 PM   #105
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I'm "popular" ... you're not [on AirstreamCentral]

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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
...I also, will have an article, that will go into great depth about hitches, in the December issue of Airstream Life Magazine.

Stay tuned. ...
Andy,

I'm now "popular" on AirstreamCentral.com with my ONE pitiful article. Although you are listed as an author at the site, you're not popular. I think it has something to do with you not writing any articles yet...

I think that an in-depth article about hitches would be an excellent first article.

Would you mind being more popular than me?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:39 PM   #106
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I had some spare time and looked at this thread; gotta say, I've been behind a lot of of Airstreams and you track! In 80 mph sidewinds, we all sway.
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