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Old 11-06-2003, 10:06 AM   #1
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Towing 1981 31' Excella

Greetings Oh noble wise AS owners.
I just bought a 1981 31' Excella and am looking for a tow vehicle. I noticed that the rear of the trailer sits pretty close to the ground and that it needs to be hitched pretty low in relation to the ground to prevent the front tilting up too much. Some of the tow vehicles I am looking at are lifted so the hitch would be a little high. Are there adapter type devices that would allow the ball to sit lower in relation to the vehicle? (i.e. a right angle type device)

Mark Vicente
Los Angeles CA

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Old 11-06-2003, 10:48 AM   #2
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You should be able to purchase a drop hitch , My Dodge sits very high in relation to AS and I had to buy a 11 inch drop from drawtite for their WD hitch. It is a straight drop / right angle as you say , however if You are using a non WD hitch the drop hitch assemble will be rated for less tounge weight , most of those end up extending the ball to the rear to achieve the drop creating a longer lever and hence the lower tounge weight rating. I am possiblly buying a Hensley and would have a drawtite WD hitch with the drop bar for sale , contact if interested

"Forbidden Wheels Clubhouse Recon Team"

2004 30ft Slide Out with Hensley Arrow hitch. Pulled By 2010 Dodge 2500 Diesel 4x4 Megacab
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Old 11-06-2003, 05:23 PM   #3
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Towing 1981 31' Excella

Greetings Mark!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreaming!

What you are looking for is something that is required with most pickups/sport utilities used to tow an Airstream. I have towed my Overlander with a Jeep Grand Wagoneer (1984 - pre-downsizing), a K1500 Chevrolet Club Cab Pickup, and my current K2500 GMC Suburban - - each required the use of a drop hitch very similar to the one pictured below (it is installed on my Suburban):

The draw bar/ball mount pictured above is for my Reese Straight Line Hitch, but similar dropped ball mounts are available from most of the major manufacturers. Getting a hitch that is properly rated for the weight involved with the proper weight distribution bars and sway control is also something to be considered.

You are correct in assuming that it is important to get the trailer level for towing. It can be quite expensive to drag the rear of the trailer on the ground as the dump valves and related plumbing can be rather easily damaged on the rear bath coaches. The coach will also handle better if it is towed in a near level state rather than nose high.

Good luck with your search for the ideal tow vehicle!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 11-06-2003, 05:40 PM   #4
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"The coach will also handle better if it is towed in a near level state rather than nose high"

To elaborate on this a bit, to the extent the nose is high or low you end up shifting weight to one or the other axle. This can overload the axle and/or tires, leading to catestrophic failure.

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Old 11-11-2003, 01:15 PM   #5
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Mark, I tow a 31' Sovereign.......

with a GMC 2500HD 8.1 Vortec 4X4. 3.73 rear end. It tows extremely well. I have a Reese Dual Cam hitch which cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $450-$500.....I forget. A great combination. I believe you will want your hitch about 19 inches off the ground, assuming your trailer sits about the same as mine. You do want it level, with enough weight on the ball to adequately secure your hook-up. Too little weight on the ball and you will end up with the trailer wanting to rock when you hit ruts or road grooves. Too much weight on the ball and you rob steering control from your tow vehicle. Any reputable dealer should be able to have you on your way in quick order. Good luck.
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