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Old 04-08-2004, 09:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by j54mark
I thought the axle load rating applied only to what the axles carried, which would not include the axles themselves, while the GVWR is the whole load. In other words, even ignoring tongue weight the axles need only to carry the weight loaded upon them.

Or am I missing something?

Mark
Mark,
I think you have put your finger directly on the main question. Howie's concern was why the GVWR and axle ratings didn't match. If you ignore the unsprung weight (axles, wheels, and tires), you could conclude that the axles were underrated.

Calling the unsprung weights an 'engineering theory' leads to more confusion. The axles and running gear probably weigh close to 1000 lbs total.
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Old 04-09-2004, 07:07 AM   #16
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Andy do use a Reese weight distribution hitch as well as a sway bar. The galley was not loaded, we do take quite a bit of food under the dinnete table and always travel with a full tank of potable water. I was just really surprised at the tongue weight and didn't know if this was a normal condition. there isn't a whole lot I can do other than movable ballast as the stuff in the rear compartment is held to a minimum only the things that won't fit anywhere else, folding chairs and an olympic grill. Thanks again I will start shifting.
Rick
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Old 10-23-2004, 10:19 AM   #17
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An up date.
I weighted the trailer today. Total weight, with empty refigerator no water or sewage on but with a general complement of junk inside, 16,140 lbs. Trailer axel weight while attached to the truck is 8,100 lbs. In this configuration the trailer sits 13 in. off the ground to the bottom of the frame while parallel to the ground. The bottom of the hitch flange is 14 1/2 in off the ground and the axels have about a 5 degree positive angle.
As mentioned before the trailer has always sat very low from the day I bought it and has frequently bottomed out on the rear frame supports while crossing railroad track and deep driveways.
I am using the largest "high low" hitch mount Reese make, in the extende low position, with the hitch mounted at the bottommost position causing my chains to bottom out under the hitch frequently.
I guess my question at this point is how do my height measurements compare to other tri axels.
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Old 10-23-2004, 12:52 PM   #18
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HowieE

You are describing a low chassis height, that can happen, if, the axles are gone.

Your normal underbelly clearance should be about 16 to 16 1/2 inches, above the ground.

A positive angle on the torsion arms, as you have posted, confirm that your axle rubber rods are toast.

Andy
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Old 10-23-2004, 01:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
If you tow an Airstream trailer with just a ball, sooner or later, you will become a statistic. The laws of Physics, says so.
Now that gets my attention ;-)

The implication is that load leveling is needed for reasons other than shifting tongue weight back to the axles and forward to the tow vehicle steering axles. What are those reasons? What is the statistic being referred to?
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Old 10-23-2004, 02:36 PM   #20
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Leipper.

Proper loading (weight distribution) assures towing stability.

The statistic that I referred to was being in an accident, which sooner or later will probably happen, "unless", your rigged properly.

Proper rigging does not guarantee that an accident could not happen, but it does alter the statistics very heavily in favor of "trouble free" towing.

State of the art "rigging" is the very best anyone can do.

Unfortunately, some owners feel that the extra expenditure required to provide maximum safe towing assurance, is not worth it.

Those are the people that regard "safety" as an issue that only applies to others, as being "macho" is all they need...............

How sad, for them, and the innocent people they may also injure.

Andy
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Old 10-23-2004, 07:41 PM   #21
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Andy: "Proper loading (weight distribution) assures towing stability."

I certainly agree with this, but the connection to hitch load leveling is what I am skeptical about.

Proper rigging can be obtained with a ball only configuration if the tow vehicle is designed to handle that sort of vertical load at the hitch point. As an extreme example, look at the trucks used to tow mobile homes - they are ball only.

The purpose of load leveling hitches is, primarily, to distribute hitch weight forward on a tow vehicle that might otherwise have excess weight removed from the steering wheels or excess weight added to the rear axle. Distributing load aft to the trailer axles is just a necessary side effect.

But if the rigging has the trailer level and the tow vehicle level (weight of each evenly distributed on their axles as designed) and within specs on the axles then it is rigged properly with or without load leveling devices.

Proper loading and weight distribution is another matter. The advice about running with a full fresh water tank for a lower CG, keeping heavy weights near the trailer axles, and putting 12% of the trailer gross weight on the tongue are all good rules of thumb for proper rig loading.

Load leveling hitches shouldn't be confused with sway control mechanisms, either, which I have seen a lot of people do.

Thanks for clarifying what you meant. I was worried that I was missing something. Its a complex topic and sure stimulates a lot of debate but you provided a good caveat that people should pay attention to.
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Old 10-24-2004, 02:54 PM   #22
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Bryan.

Proper rigging has many forms.

I referred to proper rigging that is necessary to tow an Airstream or Argosy trailer.

That has absolutely "nothing" to do with anything else, not boats, not equipment trailers, nor semi-trailers.

Part of a new comers problem, is to get the correct facts etc, the first time around. When we bring up what other industries may do, leads to misunderstandings and confusion.

Lets keep this to "EXACTLY" Airstream and Argosy trailers, period.

We must use load equalizing hitches, others may not.

If we do not, we become a statistic, sooner or later. Records over the years by Caravanner Insurance more than guaranteed that.

We must keep in mind, that there is no such thing as being "overly safe or too safe".

Being a statistic for a collision loss is bad enough, as it will never be a "convenient collision".

Being a statistic in the obituary column, is even worse. I know, as I have helped some of the surviving families, survive, the results of a severe collision, caused by "improper rigging". Not an easy, or pleasant task, I assure you.

Andy
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Old 10-26-2004, 07:45 PM   #23
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I went back and looked at my old "The Airstream Story" from 1966/67 and 1970-72. One will find that the "hitch weight" around 8%-15% of the weight on all models. What I did find interesting was the lower numbers were on some of the larger trailers. Example: 1970, 29' Ambassador Double, Hitch Wt. 450lbs, Total Wt. 4715lbs. It was the smaller trailers that had the higher %. Example: 1970, 18' Caravel, Hitch Wt. 350lbs, Total Wt. 2880lbs.. But, one would say that even though the larger trailer has a smaller % of hitch weight at first, after loading gear, water, etc... it would fall in line with the smaller trailers, I would think. If you have never had the chance to read the "Car & Driver" story done in 1969 about cars, towing, hitching, etc... I would suggest that as some good reading. They showed that a car pulling and Airstream trailer can stop quicker than a car "without" a trailer. Also, talked about a "hands-off" way of stopping an out of control fish-tailing. What "Andy" speaks about is ways of hitching that have shown to work for over 35 years, has been tested on test tracks and followed up with real world data from people that did not hitch-up correctly. If done "correctly" you don't need a dual wheel 1 ton truck to pull an Airstream. As with other things in life, we make up for wrongs in one area by over doing in others.


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Old 10-27-2004, 12:16 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by rideair
Also, talked about a "hands-off" way of stopping an out of control fish-tailing.
this is called a tease! ;-) what technique were they describing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rideair
What "Andy" speaks about is ways of hitching that have shown to work for over 35 years, has been tested on test tracks and followed up with real world data from people that did not hitch-up correctly. If done "correctly" you don't need a dual wheel 1 ton truck to pull an Airstream.
and, by the same token, not every rig requires load leveling devices or sway bars, including Airstream trailer based rigs.

They do need safety chains and a breakaway switch and proper rigging and other due care, but, I don't agree with Andy that you must have a load leveling hitch to safely tow an Airstream. There's a lot more than 35 years of experience available to demonstrate that.
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Old 10-27-2004, 07:57 AM   #25
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Bryan... I probably shouldn't even respond, but I can't help taking the bait. This is an age-old argument that rages across every forum on the web. Having towed a '61 Bambi 16', a 23' Safari, and now a 34' Behemoth thousands and thousands of miles over the years with various tow vehicles from a 3/4 Supercab truck to a Chevy Astro, and from my experience I concur with Andy. If you're towing a Bambi with a 3/4 truck, you probably don't need either because of the weight difference, but any time the tow vehicle weight is less than twice the weight of the trailer, you'd better at least have sway control.

I know, I know, there'll be a bunch of folks who say "I've done it for years and never had a problem" and those sentences should ALWAYS end in 'yet'.


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Old 10-27-2004, 12:09 PM   #26
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Leipper.

It would appear from your thoughts that your a "non-believer" in proper rigging.

Several years ago, I settled with the estate of a couple that was pulling a Caravel with a 1/2 ton truck, with just a ball.

Lost control and flipped it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dry pavement, no wind, about 50 MPH from witnesses.

Would not the results of such impress you?

It has impressed several thosands of others.

Not meant to be a scare, but it is "fact."

Andy
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:14 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by 85MH325
This is an age-old argument that rages ... If you're towing a Bambi with a 3/4 truck, you probably don't need either because of the weight difference, but any time the tow vehicle weight is less than twice the weight of the trailer, you'd better at least have sway control.
you just made my point(s)!

First is that sway control and load leveling are two different issues.

Second is that the need for load leveling and/or sway control depends upon the configurations of trailer and tow vehicle. Load leveling is always first as that helps prevent tow vehicle steering instabilities due to rear loading. If that isn't enough, then additional sway control is needed.

You also provided a good rule of thumb for sway control that also gives hints about how to decide upon the type of sway control. IMHO, though, weight in this rule of thumb is only an approximation for various lengths. The wheelbase rule of thumb is, for that reason, inherently better but even it misses the critical rear overhang distance (which the HA and PR shorten as their primary means of effectiveness in sway control).

The fact is that absolutes are very seldom found in the real world and conditions can create exceptions. We do better to help people understand the why rather than to preach a gospel they may reject as inconvenient. I think that not having a good understanding of issues but rather only gospel is also one reason why the argument rages.

as for the Bambi and the truck, see here:
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/memories/travelogues/
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:52 PM   #28
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Leipper. It would appear from your thoughts that your a "non-believer" in proper rigging.
Andy,

You are getting personal as well as incorrect. This is not a good way to go about things.

I am very much in favor of proper rigging, proper choice of tow vehicles for your Airstream, proper configuration, proper loading, and good driving with a proper attitude.

I think everyone is best served by understanding what "proper rigging" is and why it is not an absolute one-solution-for-everyone-for-every-configuration but rather an appropriate and proper set-up for the circumstances and equipment.

See
http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/ow...tch-setup.html
for a description and additional links that I consider appropriate.

The picture on the page also shows how even seasoned Airstreamers with all the right equipment can still have improper and unsafe rigging. I just ran across another one where the umbilical was not dressed properly and caused significant strain on the cabling that caused a loose ground (i.e. hazard of loss of brake) - not to mention cable wear from dragging on things (potential loss of signal and fire hazard). These were long term Airstreamers in both cases with all the proper equipment but still missing important facets of "proper rigging."

As for your tragic story, it is indeed tragic, but the question is about what caused it. I have seen an Airstream with a Hensley overturned on the road north of here. From what I can tell, most such accidents are usually caused by things like blowouts and driver error (especially sleepy drivers on Nevada's I80). I have seen or heard of none caused by a 'ball only' hitch.

Sway disasters even occur to rigs with load leveling and sway control. They usually become tragic because of poor driver response or behavior. To find an accident and blame it on something convenient is not helpful to anyone's understanding about how to improve their own safety.

It is indeed a fact that tragedies happen. But we need to know why so we can perhaps reduce our odds of having a similar tragedy. To me, the best route to safety is an educated and aware driver. When you have that, you have proper rigging, proper driving, and a proper approach towards safety that makes for a safer Airstreaming experience for all of us.
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